Buying an old car can be fun if you are prepared to deal with unexpected issues and never expect the vehicle to be perfect. We have many potential buys stop into our shop looking for help buying an older car and they are looking for a Barret Jackson car that drives like new for $10,000. Straight up, we are spoiled with today’s cars as we have a lot of performance with excellent brakes, suspension, steering and interior comfort. Those are items you will not find in a Chevelle SS, C2 or C3 Corvette, and old muscle cars in general. Lots of parts need to be changed for most peoples wants. We normally hand potential buys a Summit Racing magazine and have them look at the prices of parts so they are prepared for the unexpected as it could be anything from a bad engine to steering components.
Every Car Has A Story
Car collectors will often talk about a particular cars story that might increase its value, but the fact of the matter is that every car has a story, it just might not be a good one. when looking for an older car, look for items that are too good to be true. Try to check out the paint in hidden areas to see if there are signs of bondo, overspray or rust. The engine compartment will normally tell a story of its own by looking fairly stock or completely tricked out.
In our case with our C3 Corvette, we were told this car was a two owner survivor with the last owner having possession of the car for the last 22 years. When walking around the car, you could easily see the paint was pretty original with a few areas being repainted. the work was done well. The engine compartment looked very stock and very clean. Maybe too clean, but overall there was a mix of original parts and a few aftermarket parts, like a new alternator. No matter how stock it looked, we had no clue what was inside the motor and would not know until we pulled the motor out of the car and tore it down. In tear down of our car, we found we had an intake manifold gasket leak allowing a small amount of coolant into the oil. The rod bearings were very worn and the engine had been rebuilt very few miles ago. It was supposed to be stock.
The Good News
In this case, it was worth every penny it cost to pull the motor and go through it. The engine was put together incorrectly and it would not have lasted long. This gave us an opportunity to upgrade what we wanted and make the car everything we want. Once the block was at the machinist’s, we found out the bore was still standard and everything there was in good shape. In this build, all we are using is the block.
The Upgrade Begins
Waiting around is not our thing. Once the engine was out and we knew it needed to be rebuilt, we quickly ordered up a top end kit. We searched for a good top end kit that was already tested and had a pretty good torque curve. The recipe for the numbers claimed was clear and we decided to go for it. We ordered the Trick Flow 500 Hp 450 Ft Lbs of torque kit TFS-K314-500-450 from Summit Racing. Having this kit early did not have any impact on how the block was bored. Our goal of 10.5 to 1 compression could easily be reached with different flat top pistons that could be purchased after we figured how much the block was going to be bored.
This top end kit comes with assembled heads, roller rockers, roller lifter, a pretty hot cam, head bolts, and gaskets. To make the power they claimed, we needed a pretty tall intake that would not fit under our Corvette hood, so we opted to go with a low Torquer II so we did not have to change our stock hood. everything we do from here on might affect the output numbers, including a 383 stroker kit.
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